Animals living only in marine caves have adapted to environments with low light and often low levels of oxygen.

Ostracods are small, bivalve crustaceans that can inhabit underwater caves.

Ostracods are small, bivalve crustaceans that can inhabit underwater caves. The ostracod genus Spelaeoecia is known only from marine caves and occurs in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Yucatan (Mexico). Image courtesy of Tom Iliffe, Bermuda: Search for Deep Water Caves 2009.

Typical adaptations seen among animals that live exclusively in caves include:

Many of these animals also have adaptations that reduce the need for oxygen. This is because anchialine caves (or coastal caves flooded with seawater) tend to be oxygen-depleted due to a lack of photosynthesis and very limited water circulation. These adaptations may be behavioral, morphological, or physiological:

Adaptations do not happen because an animal “wants to adapt” or “needs to adapt.” Adaptations happen as random events, and if they provide an advantage, the organism is more likely to survive and reproduce than other organisms with these same adaptations.

 

For More Information:

Lesson Plans for Bermuda: Search for Deep Water Caves 2009 Expedition

Bermuda: Search for Deep Water Caves 2009

 

RSS Feeds Ocean Exploration Facts RSS Feed

Sign up for the Ocean Explorer E-mail Update List.